Men's 400m Final @GETTY IMAGES

Men’s 400m Final @GETTY IMAGES

by Michael Bascombe/Special for LIME Grenada

BEIJING, China, August 26, 2015 – Olympic champion Kirani James is satisfied with his performance despite having to settle for bronze in the Men’s 400 metres final at the IAAF World Championships here on Wednesday.

South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk clocked a personal best and world leading 43.48 seconds to stun defending champion American LaShawn Merritt (43.65) and James, the London 2012 champion, for bronze in (43.78). It was James’ best time of the season but unable to catch up with Van Niekerk and Merritt in the latter stage of the race as all three medallists ran under 44 seconds, the time such a feat recorded in the history of the event.

The South African’s victory was the final event on a dramatic fifth day of competition which also saw world leading marks in the Men’s Javelin Throw and the Women’s 400m Hurdles.

James, who was previously beaten only once this season and by Van Niekerk, said he was happy to represent his country.

“My aim was to come out here and make my country proud and as long as I give it my best I’m sure they gonna be happy with that,” James told GrenadaSports.

“I think I followed my race plan pretty well. The other guys had other plans. LaShawn (Merritt) went out pretty fast, Wayde (Van Niekerk) followed him and they had a strong finish. I just tried to follow my race plan and I came out with a bronze medal with 43.7 so I can’t be mad about it at all.”

“I can say this was one of the toughest races in my life. With guys running such times, the world record could also ne in threat,” he said.

James will have an opportunity to race against Van Niekerk and Merritt next week when they compete at the Weltklasse Diamonf League Meeting in Zurich next Thursday. James, along with Van Niekerk, Merritt and Isaac Makwala of Botswana are included in the 400m line-up.

Grenada’s Sports Minster Emmalin Pierre extended congratulations to James on his bronze medal effort.

“Kirani has once again done his best while representing the people of his beloved Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. While on this occasion he was not able to take the top position he is always number one in the hearts of each and every Grenadian,” the Minister said in a statement.

The Grenada Athletics Association (GAA) also extended congratulations to James on Wednesday, acknowledging his role as a role model and ambassador for Grenada.

“The GAA is extremely proud of the achievement of Kirani. His humility, dedication, hard work and perseverance have undoubtedly brought great dividends not only to himself, but the sport and the people of Grenada. Kirani has demonstrated that with the talent and the right attitude the sky is the limit, he continues to be an excellent ambassador for athletics and the country of Grenada, one in whom we are extremely proud,” according to the GAA statement.

“We join with the rest of the Grenadian community in acknowledging the exploits of our Ambassador, Kirani James on his 2015 World Championship Bronze Medal.”

Kurt Felix, the only remaining Grenadian competitor at the championships, will begin his campaign in the Men’s Decathlon on Friday morning with the 100m, Long Jump, Shot Put, High Jump and 400m.

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